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Hutchinson, Ian (1968-1976)

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Ian Hutchinson (1968-1976)

Written by Lofty in May 2007

ian_hutch_signed_photo.jpg Ian Hutchinson, known as ‘Hutch’ to fans and fellow players alike, died on Thursday 19 September 2002 following a long illness, at the age of just 54. A minute's silence was held before Chelsea's UEFA Cup game against Viking Stavanger at Stamford Bridge later that same day, during which the players wore black armbands as a further mark of respect.

Chelsea legend Ron Harris said of Hutch: “He was a big brave lad who was fantastic from a defender's point of view because if you got a ball down the line he was that brave he used to go where other people feared to go. He was a 110% player and I think that was why he went down ever so well with Chelsea.”

Ian Hutchinson was born in Derby on August 4 1948 and started his playing career with non-league Burton Albion before signing for Cambridge United.

He was signed by Chelsea in July 1968 for £5,000 after being spotted by Ron Suart, who had in fact travelled to Cambridge to watch a goalkeeper, but was so impressed with what he saw that he had no hesitation in recommending Hutch to Dave Sexton, the Chelsea manager at the time.

ian_hutchinson_on_the_ball.jpg Ian Hutchinson scored 58 goals in 137+7 appearances for the club, an impressive strike rate that would surely have been improved upon if it were not for a horrendous series of injuries.

Neil Barnett wrote that "Didier (Drogba) has always reminded me of Ian Hutchinson. He plays bigger than his size, he's strong, powerful, fast, capable of terrific things on the ball but vulnerable to being technically deficient ... The difference in popularity between the two players with their era of fans has been that Hutchinson, with his unique long throw, was unconditionally loved".

Being double-jointed in both shoulders enabled Hutch to produce the famous 'windmill' style action that made his long throws such a unique and effective weapon for Chelsea.. It was an Ian Hutchinson throw-in that led to Dave Webb's winning goal in the 1970 FA Cup Final replay at Old Trafford.

celebrates_2nd_wembley_equaliser.jpg During the 1969-70 season. Hutch scored 16 goals in 26 league appearances. However, his most famous and arguably most significant goal for Chelsea, came against Leeds in the FA Cup Final at Wembley. Still limping from another heavy Norman Hunter challenge, Hutch rose to head in a John Hollins cross, taking the game into extra time, and ultimately to the replay that was Chelsea's first ever first FA Cup Final win.

During his career, Ian Hutchinson suffered a series of major injuries. Among these were two broken legs, a broken arm, a broken toe and persistent knee trouble. The first of these injuries came in December 1970, when he broke his arm while playing against Nottingham Forest. In 1971 he damaged a knee against Southampton, broke his leg while still not fully recovered from this injury, missed the whole of the club's European Cup Winners run and only managed four appearances during the entire 1972-73 season.

ian_hutchinson%20.jpg Speaking in 1973, Hutch said : “I’ve stopped worrying about my injuries. They are all behind me, and there is not much point in talking about bad luck. I just have to buckle down and get 100% fit. The main problem is weight put on during that last lay-off, but I’ll soon run that off in training. Sometimes I wonder about all this ‘brave Hutch’ talk. You play the way you’re made. If you try to change, you lose a lot of your natural ability.”

Sadly this proved to be over-optimistic, and he was forced to retire in 1976 at the age of only 27.

ossie_and_hutch.jpg Peter Osgood maintained a close friendship with Hutch for the rest of his life. The two of them had kinds of fun jointly running a pub in Windsor, a venture that eventually failed due to their lack of business acumen. Ossie regularly visited Hutch in hospital. Speaking of Hutch, he said:: "He was my best friend. He was the best man at my three weddings and I was best man at his two."

Peter Osgood again, this time taken from his book, 'Ossie: King of Stamford Bridge':

"Ian Hutchinson did not recover and sadly died following his long illness. I thank God the big fella has found peace but life can never be the same again. I dedicate this book to him. See you again bruv."

Ian Hutchinson 1948 - 2002

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